Volunteer Stories

Eric Bowman: NCBA CLUSA Farmer-to-Farmer El Salvador

NCBA CLUSA Farmer-to-Farmer El Salvador
  • Story Snapshot

  • Country: El Salvador

eric bowmanEric Bowman
Executive Director, Nutritional Therapy Association, Inc.
Location: Olympia, WA
Career Summary: Eric served as a cooperative development specialist at the Northwest Cooperative Development Center in Olympia, WA for over 10 years. As a cooperative development specialist, Eric provided business development services and technical training in business planning, management and governance, accounting and finance. Bowman also serves as the director and board chair of the Tulip Credit Union.
Area(s) of Expertise: Cooperative development, natural resources and marketing for value-added/organic agriculture
Education: BA, focus on Economics and Business Administration, Evergreen State College
Language(s) Spoken: English

ASSIGNMENT OVERVIEW
Name of project: NCBA CLUSA Farmer-to-Farmer El Salvador
Implementing Partner: National Cooperative Business Association CLUSA International (NCBA CLUSA)
Volunteer Assignment and Impact: During his two-week assignment, Eric worked with four cooperatives in El Salvador—El Jabali, APRAINORES, the Cooperative Association of Organic Producers (ACOPO), and the Cooperative Association of Acocaluco (ACOCALUCO). He provided trainings to cooperative board members and management on cooperative governance issues, including conducting board meetings, the role of the board of directors, conflict resolution within the cooperative and cooperative principles and values. He also worked with these cooperatives on business and financial planning.

Eric quickly found out that the cooperatives’ understanding of governance and business management was very weak, so he worked very hard with the members to help them understand key governance functions and concepts and develop action plans and next steps to put the ideas they discussed into practice. He focused on participatory and group activities in his trainings to develop team-building and emphasize the community aspect of cooperative business. By assessing each cooperative’s strengths and weaknesses, Eric was able to tailor the trainings for maximum impact. Board members demonstrated an increased comprehension of governance functions and were excited to implement their action plans and next steps.